Wednesday, November 26, 2008

As an update to an earlier post as to how to stay up-to-date and informed in London, I thought I would post some online solutions or tweaks on how I'm managing my credit crunch living.

If you are looking for cheap theatre tickets, check out this useful post by WebCowGirl on the 12 best ways to purchase cheap theatre tickets. Some of them are more for people who have the time to queue up, but, all in all, this isn't too bad.

For me, I just tend to type in the name of the show I want to see and "discount" into Google and, sometimes, a link to a proper discount site pops up among the top few hits. Otherwise, sometimes has good discounts.

There's also the preview night option, which I recently used for August: Osage County where I purchased a ticket right smack in the middle of the Dress Circle for £17.50, where it was originally selling for £30 after opening night. I did the same for Into the Hoods earlier this year as well, and ended up saving a fair amount of money for what turned out to be two very good productions.

Cheap tickets ranging from between £3 to £5 for fairly recent releases can be found at Prince Charles Cinema in Leicester Square and Roxy Bar and Screen in Borough. Alternatively, the International Student House on Great Portland Street has a free movie screening every Sunday.

It is also worthwhile signing up to Time Out's Opening Nights for the chance to win tickets to movies about to be released.

For discounts and sample sales, there are two must-go sites which are most definitely huge money savers given the economic climate and the time of year (as most retailers are angling for the shrinking consumer wallet right now): Money Saving Expert's discount shopping page which lists all the online vouchers and discounts available, and those of you who have become a little more accustomed to a higher standard of living, Fashion Confidential, which lists the discounts and great finds found in online boutiques such as Net-a-Porter and Matches.

There is also a new newsletter which calls itself Chiconomise (the act of living stylishly for less) which was launched in the last few weeks. It's sent out every Thursday. Time Out's shopping section (updated weekly) and Sample Sales London are great sites as well.

As for those fervent online shoppers who do not mind taking the risk of not being able to try clothes on, check out Brand Alley, Koodos and Secret Sales, which periodically run online sample sales from brands such as Aftershock, La Perla, Miss Sixty and even Balenciaga.

If it doesn't hapen to be sale season, you can always try the tried-and-tested route of thrift shopping. Check out the Association of Charity Shops web site for those convenient to you. Dress agencies (shops which stock secondhand clothing, usually designer or known brands) are also a good bet. One which has been featured in The Daily Telegraph recently is The Clothes Agency.

I'm told that HQHair's outlet store is a good site offering substantial discounts off designer toiletries and cosmetics such as Nars, Stila and Bloom, while Strawberry Net offers up to 5% discounts onthe same. I tend to rely on special offers at Boots or Superdrug myself.

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